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Military & Police has been a celebrated name in the Smith & Wesson lineup for decades. Modern M&P firearms include the current line of duty pistols, the wildly popular Shield handgun and a complete line of AR-style rifles. The M&P15T is a perfect example of the latter.

With the “T” standing for Tactical, it’s not hard to figure out what Smith & Wesson intended when it developed this rifle. The gun is well suited for use as both a patrol rifle and as a home-defense carbine. Out of the box, the gun is set up for immediate use, as it includes everything you need except ammunition.

Supreme M&P15

Starting with the foundation of the rifle, Smith & Wesson built the rifle to perform in a wide range of environments. The 7075-T6 aluminum upper and lower receivers are hardcoat anodized for corrosion and abrasion resistance. The barrel is treated with a durable, corrosion-resistant finish. I’ve had a number of M&P guns with this same treatment that have shown exactly zero corrosion, even though they have been shot a lot and carried in all weather conditions.

The 16-inch barrel is made of 4140 steel. The threaded muzzle is capped with an A2-style birdcage flash suppressor. The barrel has 5R rifling, and Smith & Wesson elected to use a 1-in-8-inch twist rate instead of the more common 1-in-9-inch twist. The faster twist rate helps to stabilize heavier bullets.

Smith & Wesson equips the M&P15T with a patented quad-rail handguard. The handguard has a 10-inch Picatinny rail on the top, plus additional rails at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions. While it is extremely unlikely that you would need to use every inch of the rail system, it does allow you the flexibility of positioning things like a white light and vertical foregrip exactly where you want them.

For this evaluation, I attached one of the new Streamlight TLR-1 HPL lights to one of the side rails. I’ve found this weapon light to be ideal for long gun use. The light has a very bright center focus measuring 48,000 candela. In my experience, this is enough power to identify a subject across a golf course. According to Streamlight, the light’s usable beam is 438 meters long. Couple the bright center focus with a wide peripheral light, 775 lumens in total, and the light performs very well for building searches as well.

Magpul MBUS sights are standard on the M&P15T. These sights are made of impact-resistant polymer and, in my experience, provide exceptional service. Both the front and rear sights fold down for storage, transport or when you are using an optic. They are spring loaded, so when you depress the lever, the sights flip back up for immediate use. These sights attach to the rifle’s top Picatinny rail and can be repositioned or removed if needed.

Smith & Wesson also equips the rifle with a Magpul magazine. The specific magazine included with my test rifle was the Gen M2 windowless version of the PMAG. This is a polymer, 30-round magazine that has an anti-tilt follower and a flared base for a better grip. These magazines are battle proven, and in my own experiences they perform as well as or better than any other AR magazines I’ve tried.

A relatively standard six-position-adjustable buttstock is fitted on the M&P15T. This stock allows shooters of all sizes to better adapt the rifle to their body size. For patrol officers, this can be especially useful for changes in armor. For example, the rifle might be kept at the length ideal for the officer when he is wearing a standard uniform and soft body armor. But for incidents where the officer dons a plate carrier, he or she can quickly adjust the stock length to compensate for the additional plate thickness.

Rock Solid

On the range, the M&P15T performed very well. Using the Magpul MBUS sights and a rest, the rifle’s accuracy was very good. Additionally, the gun experienced no malfunctions.

I ran a number of different loads through the gun, including a variety of 55-grain ball rounds from IMI and Lake City. All of the loads performed very well, and the rifle seemed to shoot everything accurately, from the 53-grain CorBon DPX load to the 69-grain Gorilla Ammunition match load. For this evaluation, I stuck to the standard sights. However, with a good scope, I expect I would have shot even tighter groups. Using duty ammunition and standard aperture sights, 2-inch groups are certainly good enough for most purposes.

Sometimes longer bullets will cause feeding problems in rifles. But that wasn’t the case with the M&P15T. Every load I fed it cycled reliably. I also tested a number of different magazines in addition to the included Magpul PMAG. All of the magazines worked fine with the Smith & Wesson rifle—feeding correctly, seating properly and dropping free when empty.

All of the controls on the M&P15T are standard to the AR-15/M4 platform. They were very easy to reach, and I encountered no issues while handling the rifle.

Ready To Roll

In the end, I really like the M&P15T. It performed very well on the range, and the included equipment will satisfy the majority of buyers looking for a rifle for patrol or home-defense duties.

To put this rifle into immediate use, no additional parts or accessories have to be purchased or added to it. This makes it great for anyone needing a gun that isn’t looking to turn it into a hobby. Conversely, Smith & Wesson did not load the rifle down with a bunch of unnecessary gear that only a small portion of the shooting market requires. For anyone needing a defensive rifle, I recommend you take a look at the Smith & Wesson M&P15T.

For more information on the M&P15T, visit smith-wesson.com or call 800-331-0852.

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